A/N: Wow, I'm so sorry that I kept you all waiting so long for this update. School has just been so extremely busy, especially since I'm taking two science classes this semester. I feel really terrible, but I hope you can forgive me with this final chapter of Courting Troubles. Thank you all so much for all your support!
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this chapter is dedicated to all you awesome people!
Summary: In which Eren is completely oblivious to Corporal Levi's attempts at courting him, said Corporal is frustrated by the absolute lack of progress he is making in wooing an aforementioned cadet, and Hanji Zoe has a field day with the entire thing.
Disclaimer: All the lovely badasses from Shingeki no Kyojin/ Attack on Titan belong to the wonderful Isayama Hajime. I do not own or claim to own anything.
Chapter 3: The End Justifies the Means
Glancing up from the form he had just finished signing, Levi eyed the large stack of remaining paperwork with thinly veiled disdain. He should have known better than to take time out of his already busy schedule to oversee Eren's training, but his body had reacted before his mind did—when Petra had asked who had wanted to help Eren with his training this week, Levi had promptly offered.
Hanji had shot him a knowing smirk at the time (to which he promptly rewarded with a swift kick), but the damage had been done. Still, when Levi thought back to how happy Eren had looked when he finally completed the spin and the way his sea-green eyes had glittered like a pair of fucking diamonds, Levi found that he couldn't fault himself with his impromptu decision.
Of course the repercussions of said decision were far from being pleasant—here Levi shot another annoyed look at his paperwork—but if spending more time with Eren helped shitty brats with far too expressive eyes from acting so fucking oblivious, Levi would take the extra paperwork any day.
A soft knock suddenly sounded at his door, jolting Levi out of his musings.
Levi didn't bother trying to mask his irritation when he answered. "What is it?"
The door swung open, admitting the very person from his thoughts. Eren stepped hesitatingly into the office, clutching at a cup of tea, and unconsciously biting on his lower lip as he stared at Levi with guilt-ridden eyes.
A single glance was enough for Levi to discern that Eren knew about his decision to help with his training and the consequences of said decision. And now, looking at the telltale signs of guilt swirling about in the wide green depths of Eren's eyes, Levi thought that this was exactly why he didn't want Eren to find out.
Note to self: kill shitty glasses at earliest convenience.
"I'm sorry for interrupting your work, Corporal," Eren began. "But I was wondering if there was anything I could help you with. Oh, and I brought you some tea as well, if you want it." He set the cup down with a soft clink before backing away, still staring at Levi with the same look in his eyes.
Levi hated it, seeing the other act so skittish around him, and he said as much. "Eren. Don't look at me like that."
Eren looked startled at being called out. "Like what, sir?"
"As usual, you're shit when it comes to hiding your emotions." Levi stated. He gave an imperceptible sigh. "It was entirely my own decision to oversee your training so stop beating yourself over the head about it."
"But because of me, you're behind with your own work, Corporal!" Eren sounded extremely distressed. "Hanji told me how you had a lot of paperwork to catch up on because you helped me with training." Eren's eyes were downcast as he added in a self-deprecating tone of voice, "If only I was stronger, then I wouldn't have to be such a burden to you, Corporal."
"Don't you dare say that."
Eren flinched at the harsh tone. Seeing this, Levi tried to soften his voice a bit, but still make his words firm. "Don't ever let me hear you say that again, Eren. You shoulder all of humanity's hopes on your shoulders. You aren't a burden so you better drill this into that puny brain of yours."
"Thank you, sir," Eren's cheeks were now lightly flushed from all the praises. He quickly glanced away, unable to hold Levi's gaze. "Uhm...if you don't want the tea, sir, I'll be happy to get you something else."
"Hm? It's fine, leave it." With Eren's eyes trained expectantly at him, Levi had little choice but to raise the cup to his lips. His eyes widened slightly when a pleasantly cool flavor immediately washed over his senses. "This isn't my usual tea blend."
"No, sir. This is chamomile and spearmint. It's known for its soothing properties and supposedly helps to relieve stress." Eren fidgeted nervously. "If you don't like it, I'll bring you your usual blend."
"This is fine." More than fine actually, as Levi lifted the cup up for another sip. Huh. Brat actually knows his teas. Who would have thought. "Eren, how many tea blends do you know?"
Eren perked up at the question. "Quite a few of them, sir! My father was a doctor so I learned a lot about various herbs and blends from him."
"Good. I expect you to make me my tea from here on out." Levi set the now empty tea cup down and took another piece of paperwork from the stack.
Disbelief was written on Eren's face. "Do you really mean it, Corporal?"
"Are you already hard of hearing at your age?" Levi said impatiently. "I don't mince words, brat. Besides, you were the one who asked for something to help with."
From the corner of his eyes, Levi watched as a bright smile split across Eren's face. "Yes, sir!" he said eagerly. "But are you sure there isn't anything that I can help you with right now?"
Levi set down his pen and eyed Eren with an unreadable expression in his eyes. "Since you're so damn insistent, I'll give you something to do. Sit down on the couch."
Eren looked highly confused, but did so obediently. "Like this, sir?..." He gave a start when a warm weight suddenly settled on his lap. Eren glanced down and immediately flushed a deep red. "C-Corporal?!"
Levi had also settled himself down on the couch and had arranged it so that his head was resting on Eren's lap and his legs were hanging off the opposite armrest. Levi set down the paperwork that he had brought along with him and stared up at the flustered cadet, his expression as impassive as ever. "Something wrong, Eren?"
"N-Not at all, sir." Eren sat stiffly and kept his hands firmly fisted against the sides of his thighs as the flush continued to travel up to the very tips of his ears.
Levi noticed the cadet's rigidness. "Does this make you uncomfortable, Eren?"
"No!" Eren's eyes widened. Despite the blush evident on his face, his tone was genuine. "It's fine as long as you are comfortable, Corporal."
"I see." The next few minutes were spent in silence, save for the occasional flip of paperwork as Levi looked over them.
As soon he had his embarrassment relatively until control, Eren forced himself to focus on the situation at hand. He dared a quick glance down at the corporal. Lying on his lap and silently reading over his papers, Levi looked completely unguarded and relatively at peace for once. Eren felt a slight thrill run through him when he realized that Levi trusted him to this extent.
A lock of hair fell into his eyes when Levi shifted position and Eren resisted the urge to brush it out of his face. Upon closer observation, Eren realized that Levi's raven hair looked so silky and fine and he itched to find out if it felt as soft as it looked. Against his better judgment, Eren reached out with slightly trembling fingers.
Levi was so deeply immersed with his work that he gave a slight start when he suddenly felt gentle fingers slowly card through his hair. His surprise must have registered on his face because the fingers stopped abruptly in their stroking and a string of apologies immediately followed.
"I-I'm so sorry, Corporal Levi, sir!" Eren apologized profusely. "I couldn't help myself! Your hair just looked so soft and you just looked so peaceful lying there and I—"
Levi raised a hand up and Eren flinched on instinct, believing that he was about to be punished for stepping across the line. Eren's eyes snapped open in shock when instead of the blow he was expecting, he felt calloused fingers tenderly caress the curve of a cheek.
"Corporal?" Eren's eyes were wide as he looked down to meet the eyes of his superior officer.
"Don't ever change, Eren. That's all I ask." Levi murmured as he continued to stroke Eren's cheek with the same gentleness. An unreadable emotion flickered in his gray eyes for split second before it disappeared almost as quickly as it had appeared.
The brief, tender moment was cut short when Levi lowered his hand almost reluctantly and turned his attention back to his paperwork. "I don't mind, by the way."
"Huh?" Eren was still having trouble processing things after what had just transpired.
"Keep that up and I'll really start thinking that you're hard of hearing." Levi muttered. "I said that I don't mind if you want to touch my hair."
"R-Really? I mean, are you sure?..."
Levi made an impatient noise. "If it was something I disliked, I would have made it very clear by now."
"Okay..." Eren hesitatingly lowered his fingers back onto Levi's hair. When he saw that Levi truly made no attempt to shove him off, Eren became more bold with his actions and was soon carding his fingers through the raven black hair with a measured pace. A soft, contented sigh—a sigh so soft that Eren was sure he had misheard—escaped from Levi's lips as Eren continued his ministrations.
The two spent the next few minutes or so in peaceful silence. Eren was beginning to feel extremely comfortable in his current position, with the warm weight of Levi on his lap, the rhythmic stroking of the corporal's hair, and the cozy temperature of the room. Unconsciously, he felt his eyes begin to flutter close.
Eren thought sleepily as rubbed the sleep out of his groggy eyes. He threw his arms out to stretch lazily as he scanned his surroundings with a languid eye. Where am I? This isn't my room. Confusion set in when Eren didn't recognize his immediate setting.
As Eren struggled to get his brain to function properly again, he belatedly realized that there was a warm weight on his chest. The source of the warmth, as Eren soon discovered, was a Scouting Legion cloak draped carefully over him. He picked up the cloak curiously. This isn't my cloak. But whose?...
The last vestiges of sleep immediately disappeared when a flood of realization washed over him. I was in Corporal's office! And then we were on the couch and I...oh god. Eren leapt up from the couch and turned to face Levi's desk so fast he was surprised he didn't get whiplash. "Corporal Levi sir! I—"
Eren felt his breath leave him when he saw that Levi was watching him with a most intense look in his eyes. As if suddenly realizing that Eren was staring back at him, Levi composed himself back to his usual impassive expression. "Looks like Sleeping Beauty finally decided to join us."
Hearing those words, Eren immediately bowed and began to blurt out apologies. "I'm so sorry, Corporal! I didn't mean to doze off like that."
"There's nothing wrong with sleeping when you're tired." Levi said, turning his attention back to his paperwork. "Though you did waste quite a bit of time with that nap. You should go take a dump and take care of whatever the hell you still need to do now."
"Alright, sir, I will. Uhm..." Eren gripped at the warm cloak that had served as his makeshift blanket for a while. "I-Is this your cloak by any chance?"
Levi didn't even look up from his work. "Leave it by the couch on your way out."
"Okay..." Eren carefully folded up the cloak into a neat square and gingerly replaced it on the couch. "I also just wanted to say, uhm...thank you very much, Corporal!" Eren gave one last bow before making a hasty retreat.
It must have been his imagination, but Eren swore that he could feel Levi's piercing stare on his back as he walked out of the office.
Ever since the incident in Levi's office, Eren wasn't sure what to think. He had spent all night tossing and turning in bed as his mind looped the scene over and over again. In fact, he had spent so much time mulling over it that he barely got any sleep at all. His lack of sleep was evidenced by the heavy bags under his eyes and throughout the day, Eren was vaguely aware of the concerned looks that were thrown in his direction.
Armin voiced his concerns over lunch. "Are you okay, Eren? You haven't been yourself lately."
"Have you been getting enough sleep? That damn midget isn't working you too hard, is he?" Mikasa asked.
Eren waved off their concerns. "I'm fine." He sighed and lowered his head onto his hands. "Just a bit confused about some things."
"Is it anything we can help with?" Mikasa asked right away. "You know you can talk to us about anything."
"Yeah, but I don't think you guys will..."
"It has to do with Corporal Levi, doesn't it?" Armin said.
Eren sputtered through the sip of water he had just taken and stared at Armin with wide, startled eyes. "H-How did you know?"
"It's pretty damn obvious to just about anyone with eyes." Jean interrupted. "God, just jump him already or something. We're tired of watching the two of you dance around each other."
"Jean's right." Connie said, nodding. "I mean it was pretty funny at first, but now it's just old."
"What the hell are you guys talking about?" Eren demanded, more than a little frustrated by their cryptic speaking.
Jean scoffed. "You're so blind that you can't even understand your own feelings. Seems that you're an even bigger idiot than I originally thought."
"You want to say that again?" Eren stood up from his seat and roughly grabbed the front of Jean's shirt.
"I'll say it as many times as I need to, but it doesn't mean that it's going to get through that thick head of yours."
"Hey, hey, let's break it up here!" Armin squeezed himself between the two, who looked as if they were about to exchange blows at any second. "Mikasa, hold Jean back. Eren, come with me." Armin took ahold of Eren's arm and led him out the room.
"Che." Jean took a moment to readjust his shirt. "Good luck trying to talk sense into that stubborn idiot." A pause. "Hey, it still counts as me wining the bet if he realizes his feelings after Armin talks to him, right?"
"No way!" Connie interjected. "Didn't we all agree that there would be no direct interference?"
"Technically, your little argument with Eren back there violates our no interference policy since you were the one who instigated the argument, Jean." Ymir stated. She gave a sly smirk. "Which means that you're officially out of the bet."
"Never actually agreed to take part in the bet, so his interference doesn't count."
"...Damn." Jean cursed. "But that's not fair."
Ymir gave a nonchalant shrug. "No one ever said we had to play fair. So, Christa," she purred, draping an arm over the petite blonde. "What would you like to do with our winnings?"
"Don't be so confident!" Connie declared. "You haven't won yet! Eren might not realize his feelings until the day after tomorrow!" He looked more like he was trying to convince himself than anything.
"Yeah!" Sasha added. "Me and Connie still have a chance of winning the bet!"
Ymir looked unperturbed. "Eren not realizing his own feelings even after a direct talking to with Armin? Even he can't be that dense. And sorry, boys." Here she turned to smirk at Reiner and Bertholdt. "It's not my fault you estimated too early."
"Damn Eren and his obliviousness." Reiner muttered. "I was so sure that one of them would have jumped the other by now."
"I just hope that Corporal Levi and Eren can get together soon," Christa said sincerely.
"You truly are a goddess, Christa," Ymir said as she ruffled the other's hair in a fond sort of gesture. "But don't worry your pretty little head about it. If my assumption is correct—and I'm quite confident that I am—we'll be seeing a new couple before the day is over..."
Eren finally voiced his protests when Armin led him down a deserted hallway. "Where are we going, Armin? I wasn't done back there!"
Armin dropped his arm and turned around to face him. "To be perfectly honest with you, Eren, I have to agree with what Jean said back there."
"What? You're saying that you agree with horse face back there?"
"Well, he does have a point." Armin conceded. "Eren, you still haven't realized your own feelings yet, have you?"
"What are you talking about?" Eren asked impatiently. "You guys kept going on about 'my feelings' or whatever back there. What is this all about anyways?"
"Corporal Levi." Armin carefully gauged his friend's reaction to the name.
"W-What? What does Corporal have to do with anything?" As predicted, Eren became quite flustered and a slow red flush unconsciously crept into his cheeks.
"He has everything to do it." Armin spoke slowly, as if he was explaining a particularly difficult concept to a small child. "Tell me, Eren, what do you think about Corporal?"
"I respect him a lot!" Eren said immediately. "Corporal is such a strong person and I really look up to him! He's also a very sincere person and though he doesn't seem like it, he's extremely kind, caring, and considerate, and I really want to learn more about him and be someone he can rely on and spend all of my time with him and..." Eren trailed off as if just realizing what he was just saying.
"Holy shit." He breathed out. Eren's eyes widened and he looked absolutely shocked by his sudden revelation. "I...I like Corporal Levi." He repeated the words, as if half-believing that they would be different the second time around. "I like Corporal Levi."
Eren heard Armin mutter something that sounded suspiciously like "Took you long enough," but he was too focused on his own growing panic to take notice. "What do I do, Armin?" He gripped the blond's shoulders tightly. "How am I supposed to face him now?"
"Eren, it's okay," Armin said soothingly. "Everything's going to be alright..."
"No, no it won't! How am I supposed to act normally around him now? Oh god, he's going to think I'm some kind of idiot and—"
"Eren!" Armin raised his voice slightly in order to cut through his tirade. "Everything's going to be okay. I promise."
"How do you know?" Eren demanded, still half-distraught with worry.
"Because Corporal Levi reciprocates your feelings as well."
Silence. Then, "You're joking, right? I get that you're trying to make me feel better and all, but..."
Armin exhaled noisily, exasperation written all over his face. "God, Eren, you're my best friend and all, but you can be so oblivious at times! Corporal Levi likes you! He has for quite a while now!"
In face of Armin's firm words, Eren could doubt no longer. "...Really?" He whispered disbelievingly. "But how do you know?"
"It's been pretty blatantly obvious to most of us that Corporal has treated you differently for a while now. And if that wasn't evidence enough, his recent courting attempts definitely confirmed it."
"He's been courting me?" Eren repeated, incredulous.
"Yes, Eren. Has been for the past few days now too." Eren suddenly thought back to the events of the past couple of days: the extra attention, the deliberate touches, the heated looks...
"Wow...but I don't...I'm not..." Eren took a moment to collect himself. "It's just...I'm still not sure if Corporal really feels that way about me. I mean, what if you're looking at this wrong?"
"Look, if you're so unsure about Corporal's feelings, why don't you ask him yourself?" Armin suggested. "That's the best way to confirm it, isn't it?"
"You know what? I think I will." With a determined look in his eyes, Eren strode off in the direction of Levi's office. He paused in midstep to turn around and add, "Oh, and thanks, Armin."
"It's no problem, Eren." Armin gave a sincere smile. "Good luck."
It had seemed like a good idea at the time, but now, standing in front of Levi's door for the second time of the day, the beginnings of doubt began to creep up on Eren. No! He shook his head to physically rid himself of his negative thoughts. He had come all this way to find out and he was not going to leave without an answer.
Eren took a deep breath, steeling himself before knocking on the door.
Trepidation washed over Eren as he walked in. "Corporal Levi, sir." He saluted in greeting.
Levi glanced up from his paperwork. "So it's you again, Eren. What is it this time?"
"Corporal..." Eren looked uncharacteristically nervous. "There's an important matter I must ask you about."
Levi gave an impatient wave of his hand. "Well? Are you going to spit it out?"
Eren dug deep into his reserves of courage before blurting out the burning question. "How do you feel about me, sir?" Eren felt an embarrassed flush burn on his cheeks when Levi said nothing in response and merely aimed an intense stare at him. "I-It's just that I...I really like you, Corporal Levi, sir." Here Eren averted his eyes, unable to hold Levi's piercing stare any longer. "But I don't know how you feel and I just..."
Eren trailed off when Levi got up from his chair and approached him with slow, purposeful strides. Levi stopped right in front of Eren and seemed to regard the cadet for a moment. Eren flushed a deeper red as he felt the corporal's appraising eyes sweep over him.
"You wanted to know how I felt about you?" Eren gave a yelp of surprise when Levi suddenly pulled him down for a brief, but searing kiss that left no doubt as to what his true feelings were. Eren gave a light whine when he felt Levi bite down on his lower lip before soothing it over with a warm swipe of his tongue. "Does that answer your question, shitty brat?"
Eren emerged with flushed cheeks and kiss-bruised lips. "Yes, sir!" He said a bit breathlessly. He gave his lips a contemplative lick before adding, "But Corporal, I don't think I completely understood that the first time around. May I ask for another demonstration?"
Levi sighed, but Eren could see the corners of his lips quirk up in amusement. "You're such a shitty brat, Eren."
Eren added little bit cheekily. "But I'm your shitty brat, aren't I, Corporal?"
Levi responded by pulling Eren down to meet his lips again and Eren felt, rather than saw, the other's smirk. "At least you understand that much."
A/N: Waah, I can't believe it's finished! Levi heichou has finally achieved his happy ending after a long, arduous struggle. But goodness, Eren was just so gosh darn oblivious. Good thing, you're such a cutie!
Anyways, I just wanted to say again: thank you all so very much for supporting and following this story up until now! I hope you all found this to be a satisfying ending. I look forward to writing more for this pairing and the SnK fandom in the future~
-Bird of Dreams